Serial publication: The People’s Friend

Susan’s life is falling apart.

Her village museum – what remains of her family’s estate – is on the verge of bankruptcy, the folly her late father so loved derelict and crumbling. Susan’s son is about to leave home for university and the relationship with her mother, Barbara, is under strain as stories from the past resurface.

Yes, all is not well in the village of Kingsbarrow.

Until Susan meets a tall, sandy haired archaeologist with an interesting proposal …

I’ve been very fortunate in having another of my stories accepted by The People’s Friend magazine. This one is set in the rolling hills of Derbyshire, involves family secrets, painful home truths and a tumble down folly that our heroine finds hard to part with.

The first part of the three part story is due out on the 15th June and the story is called “The Secret Of Kingsbarrow Folly”. The other two parts are out on the 22nd and 29th of this month.

And coincidentally, whilst searching Pixabay for an image to illustrate this post, I found the above – a picture of Solomon’s Temple, my home town of Buxton’s own folly in the Derbyshire hills. Whilst not as picturesquely derelict as my invented Kingsbarrow Folly, I couldn’t resist including Solly’s.

If you love a folly as much as I do, Dinton Folly in Buckinghamshire was the inspiration for Kingsbarrow. It has since been renovated – see here for the transformation.

What Pegman Saw : The drowned man of Ram’s Island

Image: Google Streetview

The thing that upset Ma most was not having Uncle Niall’s body.

When family die, there’s a way things go, you know? The women wash and dress the dead fella, lay him in his box on a table in the parlour. There’ll be the uncles with their greased down hair and card collars, gripping pints of plain. There’ll be the aunties with their washed-out faces, fingers crimped round tea not drunk, wake cake not eaten.

But from the day Niall was found floating face down near the hide, the questions started. A poacher with no traps or snares. A smoker with no tobacco pouch, no matches. A married man with his ring finger cut clean off at the knuckle.

Time’s passed and more folk have vanished. Now Ram’s Island’s left to the heron’s and the coots, the mute mouthed salmon.

But as Ma says, ‘Some bastard knows, don’t they?’

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, a prompt that uses Google Street View at it’s jumping off point. This week ,we are at Ram’s Island, Northern Island.

Why did that nature lover’s hide prompt me to write a murder mystery? It looks pretty isolated, pretty lonely out in the water, the perfect place for bad things to happen. It could also be the overhanging Brexit negotiations that threaten the peace in Ireland, the recent parcel bombs that have been claimed by the IRA. Whatever inspired this tale, it seems trouble is never far away.

Friday Fictioneers : The end of Coral Ludd


PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

You know the Red Mountain Market and Deli? Closed up, oh, fifteen years ago I guess. Round the time we had that spate of fires.

Owner was a guy called Stanley Ludd – brick-coloured hair, smelled of old books and floral disinfectant. Ran the place with his mother, Coral, and what a mean old biddy she was – used to bawl poor Stanley out in front of the customers, beat him sometimes.

She died in one of those fires, got trapped in the library somehow.

Never saw a prettier sight than all that paper burning, flames the colour of new bricks.

***

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See here to join in and to read the other stories.

What Pegman Saw : What remained

 

‘Ever feel you’re being watched?’ said Rudy.

The path ahead was quiet except for the papery rustle of leaves, the creak and batter of crows in the dark canopy.

Dom leaned his rifle on a mossy wall, reached for his tobacco pouch. ‘Who’d you think’s watching?’ A spark, a pop of gas, a pool of light cupped in his palms.

Rudy shrugged, staring at the ground.

The kid had been quiet since illness struck the town, since the night of the pyre and the burying of what remained. Little wonder – the stink had caught in their clothes, formed a greasy coating on their skin. He’d feared it might never wash off.

‘There’s no one watching,’ he flicked the spent butt over the wall into the lake, ‘cos there ain’t no one left ‘cept you and me.’

Dom took up his rifle, cradling it close on the trudge home.

 


Written for What Pegman Saw, the cracking writing prompt using Google Street View as its jumping off point. Today we are at Coniston Water in the Lake District. See here to join in, to read and comment.

 

 

 

 

 

Three Line Tales : What remains when she’s gone

 

three line tales week 114: a blur of a girl

photo by Charles Etoroma via Unsplash


 

She becomes a blur as she passes, rushing from store to store, caught in a whirlwind of purchases, money falling from her hands into every register like leaves spun on the breeze.

She feels herself blurring, her once hard edges bleeding outwards, flaking away like layers of over boiled potato. She thought once that things would shore her up, that the weight of her belongings would halt the crumbling. But instead, they’ve hastened it, eroded her until there is nothing but the chase, the purchase, the empty feeling when she reaches home.

One day there will be nothing left to prove she was here but plastic bags and a pile of unpaid credit card bills.


Written for Three Line Tales. See, write, share, read. Here.

Friday Fictioneers : Afterwards, on rainy days

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson


 

Afterwards, on rainy days Claire would wrap a blanket around her shoulders and dash to the arbour bench by the pond. Feet tucked up. Fat plops of rain falling from the roof, balding the lawn.

She would stare at the buttermilk pods of waterlilies, at the green discs of their leaves, at droplets gathering and rolling like mercury.

Watching the ripples form and grow, she would think of Mark, how he dropped into her life, how the ripples of his actions reached further than she could ever have imagined.

How they continued to spread, even though he was gone.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a story. Don’t forget to share, read and comment on other tales too – here.

What can I tell you – I saw the art work in the picture and thought of ripples on the surface of a pond.

 

Friday Fictioneers : A world too perfect to endure

PHOTO PROMPT © Björn Rudberg


 

‘Where did it happen?’

‘Perhaps it’s best if you don’t hear all the details -‘

‘I need to know.’

‘Further along. Past the sign.’

‘I want to see the exact spot.’

‘I don’t know why -‘

A sigh so deep, it cracked in his throat. ‘There was a point she could have stopped. Saved herself. I have to know why she didn’t.’

The ground was marked with police tape, scuffed by dozens of heavy boots. But there, beyond the yellow line, two small footprints.

Jerry gazed across the wooded valley, smelt the almond blossom on the warm breeze. And he knew.

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a tale. See here to join in, read and comment.